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UKA Announces new throws cage safety specification

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UK Athletics has announced plans to undertake an exercise to bring all UK throws safety cages up to modern IAAF standard specifications over the next few years.

The move will see more than 200 UK throws cages modified to meet international cage standards.

Working in cooperation with The Hammer Circle (Association of British Hammer Throwers) and Home Country Athletics Federations, UK Athletics have identified the venues involved and will work with the operators to undertake a programme of cage modernisation.

The initial priority will be on venues that will host higher levels of competition or that play home to active throws clubs/training groups as well as those venues with cages located adjacent to the 200m start. These priority venues (53 in total*), will be contacted by UKA in the next few weeks with a view to supporting them to commission cage modernisation work prior to the start of the 2019 outdoor season.

Prior to cage modernisation, UKA will issue interim safety guidance which will support the continuation of throws activity subject to the completion of a documented risk assessment carried out by the venue operator.  The final date for venues to comply with the revised UKA cage specification will be 01 April 2022.

UK Athletics Facilities and Health & Safety Manager Michael Hunt said:

“Earlier this year there was a near miss incident involving a hammer at a league fixture where we were fortunate not to see a serious injury occur.

“The safety of all athletes and athletics participants is paramount and immediately following the incident we conducted a thorough review of all UK cages. As a result of the review UKA has defined a new UK cage specification that will reduce the ‘danger zone’ of all UK cages and will provide increased safety for all facility users.

“We know that new throws cages are costly and to this end we have worked with the specialist contractors and manufacturers within the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) to develop a programme of cage modification as opposed to replacement which has been endorsed by facilities providers.”

Dave Smith, Chairman of The Hammer Circle said:

“It is important to get these modifications right to ensure our throwing events prosper into the future. UKA have been pragmatic in their approach and we have worked hard to provide a number of solutions that are affordable and achievable within the proposed timeframe. This will provide the level of safety required to continue Hammer and Discus events within the track arena.”

Chris Trickey, SAPCA said:

“SAPCA and UK Athletics have worked closely together for over 20 years to ensure that facilities for athletics are designed and built to high standards. Ensuring the safety of athletes, officials and spectators is essential, and the industry is therefore delighted to support this new specification for cages.”   

Denis Wilson – Technical Advisor to the IAAF Technical Committee said:

“There is no doubt that once implemented the new UKA cage specifications will support improved venue safety in the UK.”

To view safety guidance and more information please visit https://www.uka.org.uk/governance/health-safety/code-of-practice/